# FAQ's about QMSA

**Questions about why choosing MAPSS QMSA:
**

Q: What is the MAPSS program?

Q: What distinguishes QMSA from the certificate training in computational methods?

Q: How should I choose between the MAPSS QMSA program and the Master’s in Computational Social Science (MACSS) program?

Q: What are the PhD and career placement prospects of QMSA students?

**Questions about what to be aware when applying for QMSA:**

Q: Can I still apply to QMSA without having met all of the necessary criteria?

Q: How and when do I apply for QMSA?

Q: What is the selection process like for QMSA?

Q: What is the typical structure of the QMSA program?

Q: When is the deadline for declaring the QMSA concentration? How?

Q: I am interested in the QMSA concentration and another program at the same time. Is it possible to apply for both concentrations?

Q. If the placement exam ends up being a roadblock to transferring to QMSA, will I still be able to take courses in quantitative methods? Are certain courses restricted to only QMSA students?

**Questions about program requirements:**

Q: What are the requirements for the QMSA concentration?

Q: Can the Computational Math Camp requirement be waived?

Q: Is the Computational Math Camp or placement test required for all students or just QMSA students?

Q: Is the Computational Math Camp different from the General Math Camp? If so, how?

Q: As a student admitted into QMSA, am I automatically enrolled in the Computational Math Camp or do I have to sign up for the course?

Q: Can the MACSS/ Computational Social Science classes be taken as electives?

Q: Where can I find information about quantitative courses that are being offered?

Q: What is the thesis requirement for QMSA?

Q: How do students choose the topic for their QMSA thesis?

Q: Do I have to stick with the research topic that I stated in my purpose statement?

Q: What are some examples of successful thesis from prior QMSA students?

Q: If I could not finish my thesis in summer (by end of July), do I have the option to enroll for another quarter to finish my paper?

Q: Is it possible to do two concentrations at the same time?

Q: What are some examples of successful thesis from prior QMSA students?

**Questions about opportunities QMSA students have to interact and work with the faculty:**

Q: Do we place students into labs?

Q: How do QMSA students usually work with QMSA faculty?

Q: Are there other opportunities for QMSA students to interact with faculty?

Q: Are there any paid RA positions available for QMSA students?

Q: Do QMSA students typically assist faculty on a voluntary basis?

Q: I plan to apply to behavioral science PhD programs. Can I have faculty at Booth as my thesis advisor?

Q: Can I still work in my current lab after I transfer to QMSA?

Q: Can my thesis advisor be someone from outside the QSMA Faculty?

**Questions for the 2021 cohort only:**

Q: Can I apply for OPT if I do the fall quarter outside the United States?

Q: Is the Computational Math Camp and its placement test happening on campus or is it due via remote learning?

Q: When does the Computational Math Camp and its placement test begin?

Q: Using an F-1 visa, will I be eligible for the 3-year OPT?

Q: Is the COVID-19 test required?

**Questions for the 2022 cohort only**

Q: Can I attend MAPSS in 2021-2022 remotely?

Q: Will the courses be taught remotely in the Fall?

Q: Will the remote option be kept for QMSA students to complete all the courses required for this program?

**Answers for why choosing MAPSS QMSA:**

**Q: What is the MAPSS program?**

A: The MA Program in the Social Sciences is an intense one-year program where Students concentrate in anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, sociology, or in interdisciplinary research. More information about MAPSS is at https://mapss.uchicago.edu/.

**Q: What distinguishes QMSA from the certificate training in computational methods? **

A: Both are one-year programs. While MACSS is data-driven, QMSA is theory-driven, and we emphasize on more advanced statistical theory for answer research questions in an area in social, behavioral, and biological sciences.

**Q: How should I choose between the MAPSS QMSA program and the Master’s in Computational Social Science (MACSS) program?**

A: In terms of curricular emphasis, there are at least two major distinctions between QMSA and MACSS:

(1) While both programs expect students to receive training in applied statistical methods, the QMSA program emphasizes that students build a solid foundation in their conceptual understanding of statistical theory through its required courses, which we believe will go a long way toward enabling students to become methodologically innovative in addressing challenging substantive questions in social scientific research. In contrast, MACSS places a relatively greater emphasis on computational techniques and provides extensive training in programming.

(2) The QMSA program emphasizes theory-driven and data-informed research on populations, societies, and behavior, which can be contrasted with data-driven inquiry adopted by most computational approaches. We ask students to develop theoretical understanding of the social phenomenon that one chooses to study through taking relevant elective courses in the social sciences and delving deep into the scholarly literature related to the topic of interest.

**Q: What are the PhD and career placement prospects of QMSA students?**

A: Most of the graduates of the 2019 cohort are currently research professionals at academic or research institutions or non-profit organizations. Three of them have been accepted by doctoral programs at leading universities including the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Yale University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas-Austin, among others.

**Answers for what to be aware when applying for QMSA:**

**Q: Can I still apply to QMSA without having met all of the necessary criteria?**

A: Yes, you can. The Admission Subcommittee will review all the materials and make a decision based on your application. Please note the admission criteria (https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/mapss-qmsa/qmsa-admissions-criteria/).

**Q: How and when do I apply for QMSA?**

A: You apply directly to MAPSS (https://mapss.uchicago.edu/apply), which has two deadlines – one in January (Priority Deadline), and the other in April (Final Deadline).

**Q: What is the selection process like for QMSA?**

A: The Admission Subcommittee will review all applications and make a decision based on the applicant’s materials.

**Q: What is the typical structure of the QMSA program?**

A: Given that it is a one-year program, each QMSA student completes 9 courses in three quarters and works with their faculty mentor on finishing their Master’s thesis in the summer. With respect to course planning, they work with their MAPSS Preceptor on selecting elective courses in their social sciences area and work with the Senior Instructional Professor on the core and elective methods courses.

**Q: When is the deadline for declaring the QMSA concentration? How?**

A: If you were admitted into MAPSS, you still have an opportunity to transfer to QMSA before September if you have not previously applied to it. To do so, you would need to submit your revised statement (by end of August) and name two QMSA faculty mentors that you’d like to work with, and list up to five courses in the social sciences, up to five courses in mathematics, up to five courses in statistics, and up to five courses in quantitative methods that you have taken in prior training.

**Q: I am interested in the QMSA concentration and another program at the same time. Is it possible to apply for both concentrations?**

A: Yes, you can apply to both concentrations but will need to decide on which one to attend if you receive admissions to both.

**Q: If the placement exam ends up being a roadblock to transferring to QMSA, will I still be able to take courses in quantitative methods? Are certain courses restricted to only QMSA students?**

A: There aren’t courses restricted to only QMSA students. For courses required for QMSA students, such as the Foundation for Statistical Theory or the Overview to Quantitative Methods, they are available for students from other disciplines.

**Answers for program requirements:**

**Q: What are the requirements for the QMSA concentration?**

A: The program requirements include: (1) attend the Computational Math Camp and take the math/placement exam in September; (2) take two requirement course sequence in statistical theory; (3) take one required MAPSS Perspective course (in the fall quarter) and one required Overview course (in the winter quarter); (4) take two elective courses in advanced quantitative methods; (5) take three elective courses in the social and behavioral sciences; (7) attend the biweekly workshop and the pre-work sessions; and (8) complete a master’s thesis. More detailed information can be found here (https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/mapss-qmsa/qmsa-program-requirements/).

**Q: Can the Computational Math Camp requirement be waived?**

A: It is only waived for QMSA students who receive special permission to attend the math camp designed for MAPSS students in the Economics concentration, which requires prior exposure to real analysis, econometrics, advanced statistics/probability, linear algebra, and multivariable calculus.

**Q: Is the Computational Math Camp or placement test required for all students or just QMSA students? **

A: The computational math camp and placement exam are required for just QMSA students.

**Q: Is the Computational Math Camp different from the General Math Camp? If so, how? **

A: The Computational Math Camp is longer, three weeks, instead of being two weeks for the General Math Camp. It involves calculus, linear algebra, statistical inference, and is mathematically more rigorous.

**Q: As a student admitted into QMSA, am I automatically enrolled in the Computational Math Camp or do I have to sign up for the course?**

A: You will not be automatically enrolled into the Computational Math Camp, as there are three Math Camps available for MAPSS students in the summer. You will need to register for the required Computational Math Camp, so please look for the communication from MAPSS regarding this information in summer (likely in August).

**Q: Can the MACSS/ Computational Social Science classes be taken as electives?**

A: Some of the MACSS courses may serve as electives in advanced methods, and if they do fall into our approved list, you can take them as electives.

**Q: Where can I find information about quantitative courses that are being offered?**

A: For a given academic year, information about offerings of quantitative methods can be found at the Committee’s website (e.g., https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/courses/).

**Q: What is the thesis requirement for QMSA?**

A: All QMSA students complete an article-length MA thesis, normally on the order of 30 to 40 double-spaced pages. Students are expected to develop an interesting question, to show a close engagement with the recent literatures in Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences, to lay out appropriate quantitative research design, measurement, and analytical strategies, to draw out and analyze their findings, to carefully scrutinize key assumptions, to discuss results and implications in the context of the problem, and to leave the reader with a clear contribution for further research.

**Q: How do students choose the topic for their QMSA thesis?**

A: With the help of their MAPSS Preceptor, students take elective courses in their social sciences field to identify a research problem, and work with the Senior Instructional Professor to find their faculty mentor from within QMSA to determine on the topic.

**Q: Do I have to stick with the research topic that I stated in my purpose statement?**

A: No, you are free to choose any topic that you are interested in and talk to the appropriate faculty mentor(s) that you’d like to work with.

**Q: What are some examples of successful thesis from prior QMSA students?**

A: Please find examples of thesis from our 2021 cohort at https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/qmsa-thesis-projects-2021-cohort/, those of 2020 cohort at https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/thesis-projects-2020/, and those from our 2019 cohort at https://voices.uchicago.edu/qrmeth/thesis-projects-2019/.

**Q: If I could not finish my thesis in summer (by end of July), do I have the option to enroll for another quarter to finish my paper?**

A: You do have the option to graduate in the fall quarter of the following year without having to enroll for courses for the fall quarter. If you plan on graduating in December, please make sure to communicate with your faculty advisor and MAPSS preceptor to seek approvals and work out a mutually agreed-up timeline.

**Q: Is it possible to do two concentrations at the same time?**

A: It is possible especially if you are interested in the certificate program in Education and Society. You may need to work with the Associate Directors of both programs to carefully work out a course schedule that fulfills requirements for both programs.

**Answers for opportunities QMSA students have to interact and work with the faculty:**

**Q: Do we place students into labs?**

A: Unlike some other MAPSS concentrations, such as Psychology, we don’t place students into labs.

**Q: How do QMSA students usually work with QMSA faculty?**

A: Students work one-on-one with their faculty advisors on their MA thesis. For students who desire to work with a specific QMSA faculty member, they need to reach out to him/her by email or visiting during their office hours in the fall quarter. It is also suggested that they try to take their classes, and/or attention their research group meetings regularly.

**Q: Are there other opportunities for QMSA students to interact with faculty?**

A: Yes. In addition to course instruction, office hours, and thesis supervision, we have other events (QMSA orientation, holiday mixer, workshop, and QMSA thesis symposium) where students can interact with our faculty. Moreover, we are planning to invite internal faculty speakers to the pre-workshop sessions, and QMSA students are encouraged to join any faculty member’s research group meetings throughout the year.

**Q: Are there any paid RA positions available for QMSA students? **

A: There shall be paid RA positions available, which you can apply when you start the program. MAPSS Career Services sends out bi-weekly digest of job and internship by email. All MAPSS students also have access to Career Services Online with Jobs Central, which can assist students with jobs and internship (https://voices.uchicago.edu/ssdmacareers/employment-resources/job-search-sites-2/)

**Q: Do QMSA students typically assist faculty on a voluntary basis?**

A: They don’t typically do so given the heavy load of three courses per quarter. However, if you have more time beyond courses and thesis, we think it is sometimes helpful that you engage in occasionally voluntary work.

**Q: I plan to apply to behavioral science PhD programs. Can I have faculty at Booth as my thesis advisor?**

A: Yes, we have a couple of faculty from Booth. If you are interested in working with them, please contact them individually to seek mutual interest.

**Q: Can I still work in my current lab after I transfer to QMSA?**

A: You certainly can, and if you want to stay with your assigned faculty mentor who is outside of QMSA, you’ll need find a second mentor from within QMSA.

**Q: Can my thesis advisor be someone from outside the QSMA Faculty?**

A: As indicated previously, your thesis advisor can be a faculty outside of the QMSA; it’s usually suggested that you find a second mentor from within QMSA to help your methodology aspect.

**Questions for the 2021 cohort only**

**Q: Can I apply for OPT if I do the fall quarter outside the United States?**

A: Yes, you can. Taking fall courses online from outside of the US does not affect your ability to apply for OPT (OIA’s page about OPT https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/opt)

**Q: Is the Computational Math Camp and its placement test happening on campus or is it due via remote learning? **

**Q: When does the Computational Math Camp and its placement test begin?**

A: The Computational Math Camp starts August 31, 2020. Please register it here (https://apply-ssd.uchicago.edu/register/ComputationCamp2020). A copy of the syllabus for this year is available here (https://uchicago.app.box.com/s/bvog8dokhr4vkjwqzzx8z0rofn8ivtdp).

**Q: Using an F-1 visa, will I be eligible for the 3-year OPT? **

A: We would hope so, but please make sure you contact our OIA office (https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu).

**Q: Is the COVID-19 test required? **

A: Not that we know of, unless you have COVID-symptoms. For more information please visit: Health Requirements

**Questions for the 2022 cohort only**

**Q: Can I attend MAPSS in 2021-2022 remotely?**

A: At last report, and barring any unforeseen changes to current health guidelines, students will not be able to complete the entire MAPSS degree remotely. Students may be excused in the Fall, should they run into visa or travel delays, but they must be here in person for January.

**Q: Will the courses be taught remotely in the Fall?**

A: Given the current situation, courses will be likely taught in a hybrid format to accommodate students who cannot be on campus in the fall.

**Q: Will the remote option be kept for QMSA students to complete all the courses required for this program?**

A: Our MA programs will try to accommodate those unable to join us in person by making the courses our MA staff teach (including the required Perspective course, the Foundations course and likely the Overview course) available electronically; it is too early to know how many Divisional courses will be offered in a remote format, and we may not know until late August; and that beginning in January we expect the number of courses offered electronically to drop much further, as the University moves to full in-person teaching.